Time & Attendance
By Jon Hyman
Jul. 8, 2014
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects, as confidential, employee medical information obtained by an employer.
What happens, however, when an employee suffers an on-the-job injury and a supervisor shares information about the injury on a Facebook wall or Twitter page? Or, what about when a supervisor posts about a co-workers illness? It can be as innocuous as, “I hope John Smith has a quick recovery from cancer,” or spiteful, like, “I can’t believe John Smith has cancer and I have his workload while he’s out on medical leave.”
Shoun sued his employer, claiming that Stewart’s Facebook post violated the ADA’s confidentiality requirements by “deliberate[ly] disclos[ing] [his] medical condition to another person.”
Social media is informal and instantaneous. Employees often post before they think about the implications of what they are posting. ADA violations are likely the furthest from one’s mind when posting about a co-worker’s injury or medical issue. A policy statement — and, more importantly, training — on this issue could save you from a disability discrimination lawsuit down the road.
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